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Jun 10, 2009 12:20 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton native, Rick Fowler-- father, fireman and farmer dead at 50

Jun 10, 2009 12:20 PM

Richard T. Fowler of Southampton, known as Rick to friends and family, was a passenger in a car on his way to a golf outing when he died suddenly on Saturday, June 6. He was 50, and the cause of death has yet to be determined.

Mr. Fowler was described by friends as a man’s man and an avid sportsman, yet quiet and unassuming. According to his longtime friend Tom White, he “helped many people who never even knew it.”

“He was just a nice guy, because that’s what the Fowlers are, nice people,” said Mr. White, who also knew Mr. Fowler’s father before he died. “He’d loan you his tractor, his truck, his guys, whatever you needed,” he said, adding that it was Mr. Fowler’s crew that helped erect the giant tent for the Water Mill Community Club’s annual gala at Villa Maria for so many years.

Born in Southampton on October 14, 1958, he graduated from Southampton High School, where he competed on the Mariners baseball, football and wrestling teams. In a tribute to Mr. Fowler, this year’s Mariner baseball team members adorned their caps with his initials, “RF,” for the Long Island championship game on Monday, winning the title this year for the first time ever. Many of those players were coached by Mr. Fowler in Little League; the Little League team’s success is memorialized with a plaque at Flying Point Park.

Mr. Fowler graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor of Science degree. Raised in a farming family, he continued the tradition but eventually converted the family’s potato farm into a nursery.

An active member of the Southampton Fire Department for 27 years, he was a member and ex-captain of Agawam Engine Company 1. Longtime friend and fellow firefighter Richie Grodski remembers Mr. Fowler as “a great, dedicated fireman.

“You can ask anyone in the department,” he said, “ Rick was always there. We depended on him.” While both grew up in the tight-knit Southampton community, Mr. Fowler and Mr. Grodski found their bond at the fire department. Mr. Fowler’s father was a member of the Agawam Engine Company when he joined the ranks, as he was when his own son joined.

Mr. Fowler was a director and a Founders Member of the Southampton Golf Club, where he was also the chairman of the Greens Committee.

“We often joked around with him that he had a mobile sports closet in his truck,” said Mr. White, referring to the clubs, bats, poles, sticks, and balls that filled the back of Mr. Fowler’s truck. “He was ready for anything.”

A lifelong member of the First Presbyterian Church of Southampton, Mr. Fowler served on its board of deacons. Although a game of golf sometimes took the place of a seat in a pew, Mr. White recalled, Mr. Fowler was a “very Christian man. He was benevolent but quiet.”

“Rick always wanted to catch one more fish, he’s always wanted to stay for a little longer,” Mr. White said. “But he knew the best catch he ever made was Midge.”

Mr. Fowler is survived by his wife of almost 24 years, Margaret H. “Midge” Fowler, and two sons, Richard R. Fowler, and Andrew C. Fowler. In addition, he is survived by his mother, Prudence T. Fowler; and his sister, Leslie F. Halsted and her husband John S. Halsted Jr. and their children, Tabor and Drue, all of Southampton. He is also survived by his brother in-law and sister in-law, William H. Corwith and Carolyn R. Corwith and their children, Katelyn and Janet, all of Water Mill. He was predeceased by his father, Richard L. Fowler.

Visitation was scheduled at Brockett Funeral Home in Southampton on Tuesday, June 9, and on Wednesday, June 10, from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. with firematic services at 7:30 p.m. A funeral service was scheduled for today, Thursday, June 11, at 10 a.m. at the First Presbyterian Church in Southampton.

In lieu of flowers, donations to either the First Presbyterian Church. 2 South Main Street, Southampton, NY 11968 or the Southampton Fire Department Benevolent Fund, Box 1435, Southampton, NY 11969 would be appreciated by the family.

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My condolences go out Mrs. Fowler and her family.
By MattDex (1), Southampton on Jun 8, 09 5:55 PM
Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.
By jpk (7), Remsenburg on Jun 8, 09 6:36 PM
ricky r.i.p
By fdny7318 (60), Water Mill on Jun 9, 09 5:51 PM
My family and I are thinking about his family and our condolences and wishes and prayers go out to them also. Awesome guy, awesome family.
By Sarihalsey (1), Southampton on Jun 10, 09 9:29 AM
My thoughts and prayers go out to his family
By animalcaregiver (14), sag harbor on Jun 10, 09 9:48 AM
Rick was a college fraternity brother and his passing is being mourned today by dozens of DUs across the country. He is being remembered as a fine person and a loyal brother. Our thoughts and prayers are with Rick's wife and his sons and all of his friends.
By KevinBruns (1), Potomac on Jun 10, 09 11:00 AM
Terrible. I worked at the golf club for many summers. I remember him as a very nice man.
By slamminsammy (104), Hampton Bays on Jun 10, 09 12:41 PM
My thoughts and prayers extended to the Fowler family.
A true Southampton family that is the epitome of class, grace and generosity.
By Uncle Fester (61), Southampton on Jun 10, 09 12:50 PM
Rick will truly be missed . My thoughts and prayers to the Fowler family .
By AndersEn (174), Southampton on Jun 10, 09 7:37 PM
So very sad not to be able to see Ricky about town. He surely will be missed.Sincere condolences to his mother, wife and children.
By summertime (589), summerfield fl on Jun 12, 09 10:09 AM